Desperate Measures (Wicked Villains #1) by Katee Robert
My Savior… Or My Ruin?
One night, and my entire life went up in flames. All because of him. Jafar. As my world burned down around me, he offered me a choice. Walk away with nothing but my freedom… Or rise to his challenge and win my fortune back.
Now Jafar owns me, and even as my mind rails against his rules, my body loves the punishments he deals out when I break them.
But a gilded cage is still a prison, I’ll do anything to obtain my freedom.
Even betray the man I’m falling for.
Excerpt Desperate Measures (Wicked Villains #1) by Katee Robert
“I’ll make you a deal, Jasmine.”
That’s why my heartbeat kicks into high gear, a stampede of one in my chest. Fear. Understandable and justifiable, considering my circumstances. It’s certainly not something akin to delight at the opportunity to pick up whatever gauntlet he’s about to throw at my feet.
Jafar moves away, his features still hidden from me in the darkness. As if I don’t have them memorized, from his close-cropped black curling hair, to his medium brown skin that darkens over the summer months, to his perfectly groomed beard. And those eyes. Those dark eyes haunt me.
He stops near my bed, and I would give a fortune to know his thoughts as he looks down at the tangled sheets where I spend every night. Finally, he turns to face me. “Run, Jasmine. If you make it to the front door, I’ll release you, trust fund intact.”
I plant my feet. “And if I don’t?”
Another of those sinful chuckles. “Then you’re mine, body and soul.”
A thrill cascades through me, intense enough to steal my breath. His. No. I give myself a shake. No, no, no. I’ve fought a losing battle from the time I first realized my place in my father’s business, fought to be considered an actual person instead of an asset. If my father truly is gone, that means I have a chance to set a new course.
But only if I make the right move tonight.
I part my lips, the word that would set me free tingling against my tongue. Rajah. That’s what I should want, isn’t it? To be gone from this place and this man and all the strings attached to what he’s offering me. Just another kind of ownership.
You’re mine, body and soul.
No misunderstanding his meaning.
If he catches me…
I shouldn’t want him to catch me.
With a shaking breath, I put away my desires. They betray me the same way this man betrayed my father. Deserving or not, it is a betrayal. I pull my robe more firmly around me, a laughably worthless action considering how short and silky it is. The slick fabric reveals more than it conceals, and if I wonder if the shadows blind Jafar the same way they do to me, his nearly soundless inhale at my movement tells me—he can see me enough to want me.
But then, he’s always watched me with a hot gaze beneath those hooded eyes.
And me? I enjoyed the attention. The thrill of it, of how forbidden it was to be desired by this man.
More the fool I was. He’s just as bad as my father. Worse, in some ways, because while my father had many faults, but breaking his word was never one of them. For better or worse, when he said he’d do a thing, he followed through on it.
Jafar promised my father his loyalty.
Look where that’s left us.
I take a step back, and then another. A third brings me flush with the door. “I will walk out that door with my money and my freedom.”
“Then run, Jasmine. I’m feeling generous, so I’ll even give you to the count of ten.”
Generous? Never. More like he wants to draw this out, to give me a moment where I can actually taste victory before he snatches it away. This is all a game to him. Everything seems to be a game to Jafar.
I don’t hesitate this time. I throw open the door and flee down the hall, my bare feet slapping the cold tile in time with my racing heart. The front door never felt so far away. Three staircases, half a dozen halls, more rooms than I care to count. All of it stands between me and my freedom.
If you really wanted freedom, you should have used your safe word.
I ignore the sensible voice whispering through me. Freedom without resources is no freedom at all. This is the only way.
I reach the stairs as my bedroom door opens behind me. Even though I know better, I look over my shoulder as Jafar steps into the hall and adjusts the cuffs of his suit jacket. God, he’s magnificent. Evil and manipulative, and far too attractive for my peace of mind. Our gazes collide over the distance and the slow curve of his lips into a satisfied grin nearly sends me falling down the stairs.
He starts toward me.
I flee for my life.